Alabama Senate approves bill that would keep Joe Biden on the state ballot • Alabama Reflector | #elections | #alabama

A bill that would allow Joe Biden’s name to appear on the Alabama ballot in November passed the Senate floor Tuesday.

SB 324, sponsored by Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, would require parties to certify their candidates 74, rather than 82, days before an election and adjusts other timelines accordingly.

“What this does in essence is it changes the certification made of the nomination of a party,” Coleman said.

The bill passed unanimously, without discussion.

In a letter to the national and state Democratic parties last week, Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen, a Republican, said that the president might not appear on the ballot in November because the Democratic National Convention, which will start in Chicago on Aug. 19, will take place after the Aug. 15 deadline to certify candidates. 

Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, looks at the Alabama Senate gallery on April 23, 2024 at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama. (Brian Lyman/Alabama Reflector)

In 2020, the Republican National Convention took place after the Aug. 13 deadline that year. The Legislature extended the deadline to Aug. 20, but the RNC started on Aug. 24. Then-Secretary of State John Merrill, accepted a provisional nomination from the party on Aug. 20 and a full nomination on Aug. 27, after the convention concluded. 

Allen said he will not accept a provisional ballot from the Democrats this year. 

While there was no discussion ahead of the vote, Senate party leaders spoke on the bill after it passed. 

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed, R-Jasper, said it was important that the bill moved forward.

“I think the idea that we have open and true and solid debate in the political process is something that is very important, not only in Alabama, but in America,” he said.

Reed also acknowledged that the Republican Party had missed the deadline in the past and said they worked similarly in the past.

“I just want you to know that I support this,” he said.

Reed also posted a statement on social media that accused Biden of trying to keep former President Donald Trump off of the ballot through “meritless court cases.” The former president is currently on trial in New York on charges of falsifying financial records to cover up hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign to an adult film star with whom Trump was allegedly having an affair.

A Senate committee last week amended HB 259, a bill requiring post-election audits sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wood, R-Valley, to include the language in Coleman’s bill.  

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, thanked Reed and said Wood’s bill as amended would do the same thing as Coleman’s. 

“That bill may be in a better position to get passed,” he said.

The bill needs three days to pass; there are six days left in the session. Wood’s bill would only need one day, barring a House conference committee on changes. 

“This is the Commander in Chief of the United States, period,” Singleton said. 

The bill moves to the House of Representatives.

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